FC Dallas-Portland Preview: Timbers will be fresher team

The MLS playoffs kick off in the Western Conference with a Knockout Round match between FC Dallas and Portland. Their two meetings during the regular season produced ties and just two goals, so a tight match is expected in Frisco.

Who's got the edge?
History is not on Portland's side -- no Western Conference team has ever won a Knockout Round game on the road since the current format was adopted -- but the Timbers will be the fresher team. Portland coach Giovanni Savarese rested his starters at Vancouver on Sunday, knowing they'd have a midweek game. FC Dallas, on the other hand, went with its first team at Colorado, shooting for a win that would have clinched a bye into the conference semifinals. Unfortunately, it lost to the Rapids, 2-1, and dropped to fourth place in the final standings.

Who to watch:
DAL: Maxi Urruti was on the Timbers for their 2015 MLS Cup championship run -- his goal in the 118th minute sent their Knockout Round game against Sporting KC to a shootout, where it went a memorable 11 rounds -- but FC Dallas picked him up in the Re-Entry Draft after the season. He's taken on the playmaker role following Mauro Diaz's move to Dubai.
POR: Diego Valeri, another Argentine on the 2015 MLS Cup championship team, won't repeat as MLS MVP in 2018, but he had another solid season with 10 goals and a team-high 12 assists to finish with double-digit goals and assists for the fourth time in six seasons.

2018 Series:
3/24: DAL 1, POR 1 (Lamah 36; Blanco 47)
9/29: POR 0, DAL 0

Last Five Games:


FC Dallas probable lineup:
21/1.33 Jesse Gonzalez, 23 (USA, HG, 6th season)
33/1/3 Reggie Cannon, 20 (USA, HG, 2nd season)
29/4/0 Reto Ziegler, 32 (Switzerland, TAM, 1st season)
33/2/0 Matt Hedges, 28 (USA, 7th season)
13/0/0 Marquinhos Pedroso, 25 (Brazil, TAM, 1st season)
31/2/1 Carlos Gruezo, 23 (Ecuador, DP, 3rd season)
27/1/2 Victor Ulloa, 26 (USA, HG, 8th season)
34/6/6 Michael Barrios, 27 (Colombia, TAM, 4th season)
33/8/11 Maxi Urruti, 27 (Argentina, TAM, 3rd season)
29/6/5 Santiago Mosquera, 23 (Colombia, DP, 1st season)
26/9/3 Dominique Badji, 26 (Senegal, 1st season)
SuperDraft picks: Hedges, Badji (Colorado).
Portland probable lineup:
8/1.72 Steve Clark, 32 (USA, 1st season)
32/0/1 Zarek Valentin, 27 (USA, 3rd season)
31/5/1 Larrys Mabiala, 31 (DR Congo, TAM, 2nd season)
13/0/0 Liam Ridgewell, 34 (England, TAM, 5th season)
8/0/1 Jorge Villafana, 29 (USA, TAM, 3rd season)
14/3/1 David Guzman, 28 (Costa Rica, 2nd season)
27/2/0 David Chara, 32 (Colombia, TAM, 8th season)
23/1/2 Andy Polo, 24 (Peru, TAM, 1st season)
32/10/12 Diego Valeri, 32 (Argentina, DP, 6th season)
31/10/11 Sebastian Blanco, 30 (Argentina, DP, 2nd season)
9/2/2 Jeremy Ebobisse, 21 (USA, 2nd season)
SuperDraft picks: Valentin (Chivas USA), Ebobisse.
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